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review 2018-04-17 01:00
Excellent Book
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn

The Road to Jonestown is the biographical account of mass-murder cult leader Jim Jones. This is an in-depth view of the man and the largest murder-suicide in American history.

This book was an excellent view into the life of a horrible man that caused a horrible tragedy. The author takes you on a journey that makes you feel as if you’re watching everything as it happens. I highly recommend for anyone that likes true crime.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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text 2018-04-10 19:42
Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman
The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff
The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss
Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner
Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne
Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a geek. Like many geeks, I love lists; reading them, making them, debating them or flat disagreeing with them, I love it all. As such, I have quite a few books that are, basically, "best of" lists. I love these because they point me at good stuff I haven't experienced yet.

It struck me that there are many different ways to compile such a book, each with it's own benefits and drawbacks. So, here are a few different ways of doing it, with examples.


1. Utterly Subjective, Single Author


Example: The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss  The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss  


This style is probably the simplest: You list your favorite examples of a thing and explain why. This is the style I employ on this blog, and the style Ebert employed in his Great Movies series.


Benefits: Ease of writing, pleasantness of experience, enthusiasm, easy to organize.


Drawbacks: No data to fall back on, personal exposure, not authoritative.


You don't have to watch, read, or listen to anything you don't want to, but people can attack you for your opinions (risky in the internet era). Still, it's a lot of fun to just gush about the stuff you love.


2. Attempted Objective, Single Author


Example: Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle  Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels: an English-language selection, 1949-1984 - David Pringle  


Here, the author makes their best stab at an "official" list, compiling examples because of importance, influence, quality, or other criteria based on their own judgement.


Benefits: More comprehensive and authoritative, helpful creative/critical exercise.


Drawbacks: "Why this one and not...", exposure to works that one finds unpleasant, "important" works that don't hold up.


This kind of list is great for the author in two ways: They have to step outside of themselves, and it's a chance to dig into classics they haven't gotten around to (and any purchases are tax-deductible, because it's "research"). Still, they have to slog through some works they don't like, and will still be open to accusations of bias. Hell, they will be biased, no matter how hard they try to avoid it. This will also affect the passion in the writing. And they still don't have concrete data backing them up.


3. Subjective Take on Objective Data, Single Author


Example: The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff   The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time - Martin Popoff  


Gather data from various polls, interviews or other outside sources, compile a ranking, and then express your opinion of the various works, their placement, etc.


Benefits: Opportunities for snark, exposure to new works, not having to dredge your own brain.


Drawbacks: Frustration, works you may find awful/offensive, disappointment when some of your favorites are low on the list or absent altogether.


This one is just too much work for me, although it would be interesting to, say, watch and review every Best Picture winner, in order. Watching Crash again would be a chore, though.


4. Utterly subjective, Multi-Author


Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman   Horror: The 100 Best Books - Stephen Jones,Kim Newman  


Get a bunch of people to talk about their favorite works. What could possibly go wrong?


Benefits: Less writing, lots of discoveries, high enthusiasm.


Drawbacks: Logistical nightmare, missed deadlines, explaining the concept repeatedly.


Now I just need to find 100 people in the field who have enough time to write a piece, make sure there are no double-ups (two people picking the same subject), editing each piece, communicate with various agents/publishers, etc. If you prefer organizing to writing, not a bad choice, but keeping your ducks in a row can be a bear. Plus, there will be classics/"essentials" that no one picks, but you can blame your contributors for that.


5. Attempted Objective, Multi-Author


Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne   Fantasy: The 100 Best Books - James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock,James Cawthorne  


You and a cohort come up with a list of classics, then divide and conquer.


Benefits: Lessened workload, interesting conversations, a united front.


Drawbacks: Arguments, resentment.


Doing an SF list but hate Heinlein? You can have your friend write that piece while you review that Ellison collection. Great, but what happens if one of you has a personal crisis? The other has to step up, leading to a potentially unbalanced workload. And the hashing out of the actual list can be both fun and frustrating, while dealing with each other's criticism of your writing styles just might suck. Just kidding, it'll be fine!


6. Subjective Takes on Objective Data, Multi-Author


Example: Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner   Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads - David Morrell,Hank Wagner  


Gather the pertinent data to compile a list, then get other people in the field to discuss their favorites from said list.


Benefits: Enthusiasm, less writing, hard data.


Drawbacks: Logistical issues, unpicked subjects.


Here, you have the same issues as #4, except you're backed up by data. But what if nobody really wants to write about something on the list? That falls to you, and can lead to some entries having all the verve of a high school book report.



Anyway, thanks for reading this list about books of lists.

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review 2018-04-06 16:01
What Do You Do if the Other Woman is His Mother?
The Other Woman - Sandie Jones

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not impact my rating or review.


So I am of two minds. This was a good thriller, however, I wanted to yell at the main character (Emily) for being so clueless sometimes. Love is not the answer if you think your fiancee's mother is out to get you. I am always shocked at women who just blithely continue on with things when they think someone near them has murderous intentions, but hey, I watched every episode of Forensic Files, so apparently there's a lot of people out there who stick their head in the sand when they start to get bad vibes off of people.


I did get a kick out of this thing, although I will say that the ending though not expected, didn't really work with what we know of the characters at this point. I also thought some things dragged the book down. Emily being obtuse about what an ass Adam (the fiancee) was being with regard to her and her best friend Seb. Also, Emily was being way too passive aggressive to me in parts. She wanted Adam to stand up and choose her, but shoot, even 10 percent in I knew that wasn't going to happen. 


"The Other Woman" is about 20 something Emily who finally meets the guy she thinks she is supposed to be with forever. Emily's meet-cute with Adam, and their subsequent dating has her knowing that she is in love almost immediately. I personally didn't get it myself, but to each their own. Emily after ensuring Adam has met her two best friends (Pippa and Seb) is nervous about meeting his mother Pammie. Adam thinks his mother is perfect (warning sign #1) and after a disastrous first meeting with Pammie, Emily is wondering if she imagined the digs that seem to be coming from Pammie (she didn't warning sign #2). When Adam and Emily are finally engaged, Pammie starts to do what she can to thwart Emily at every time (warning signs #3 through infinity).


I have to say that after a while I lost all sympathy for Emily. She keeps hoping that Adam is just going to realize his mother is a horror and when she starts hanging out with Adam's brother James, she starts hoping he will see it too. Pretty much Emily just tells people things that Pammie has said and waits back for them to take action. I would have hightailed my butt out of there at first whiff something was off, but then again, I have seen "Get Out" and I have a healthy fear of people who seem too good to be true. 


Image result for get out gif


Emily is also a contradiction at times. She wants Adam, but she also seems to want Adam's brother James to want her too. I was glad that Seb called her out on that whole thing. She sees Adam as being controlling and a jerk, but she excuses it all because she seems so focused on being with him. You have to wonder besides the hot sex they were having, what else was there to Adam.

The other characters were developed well I thought. Pammie was a smiling snake. James was doing the most, Pippa and Seb were 100 percent loyal. 


The writing I thought worked well. I felt tense pretty much right after Emily meets Pammie and it never lets up. I was waiting for something horrible to happen and you get the death by a thousand cuts that Pammie seems intent on inflicting. The flow was off a bit though. We seemed to be having way too many time jumps happening. Jones does set it up though since a remark will be made so you can figure out how long time has passed, but still, maybe a chapter heading with 5 months later or something would have been helpful. 


The ending though didn't feel true. I mean I can definitely see parts of it with the setup that is provided to us readers, but I think that some of it didn't work very well. We get an epilogue showing us months later I assume (see what I said about chapter heading with timeline established above). 

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text 2018-04-06 15:06
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Other Woman - Sandie Jones

Raises eyebrows.

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text 2018-04-06 13:57
Reading progress update: I've read 71%.
The Other Woman - Sandie Jones

At this point Emily needs to just tell Adam her suspicions, her constant questions are working my nerves at this point.

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